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New York Times, Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Author:
Mangesh Ghogre and Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
29/20/20137/4/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0010010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60000
Mangesh Ghogre
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1788/7/19965/6/201816
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
354152017472614
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.635213
Brendan Emmett Quigley

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Ghogre. This is puzzle # 172 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
MANGESH: I am from India and stay in Mumbai with my wife Rupali, kids Advait and Eva (named after my favorite crossword answer), and ... read more

MANGESH: I am from India and stay in Mumbai with my wife Rupali, kids Advait and Eva (named after my favorite crossword answer), and my parents. By profession am an investment banker with degrees in mechanical engineering and MBA Finance. I began solving syndicated LA Times crosswords in Times of India in 1997 to improve my GMAT score. After a dozen years of solving, I moved to construction and (after dozens of rejections) had bylines in NYT, WSJ, LA Times and Games magazine.

Inspiration for this special puzzle was two-fold. First, I wanted to use crosswords to bring people closer, to cross-pollinate ideas. My daughter Eva loves the song Fireworks by Katy Perry which has this phrase FOURTH OF JULY as symbol of achievement and victory. I thought what better day than Fourth of July to celebrate the idea of bringing people closer.

In November 2015, I happened to meet Brendan over coffee, and I bounced off this idea with him. He agreed to play ball. So an Indian and an American decided to come together to make a crossword for the US Independence Day. We thought that was one cool crossword friendship.

We quickly put on our thinking hats online (email and WhatsApp chat) — given the 12 hours time zone difference and around 12k kilometers between us. I came up with the idea to use FOURTH OF JULY with the four theme starters (JAY, YOU, ELL, WHY). Brendan quickly smelled, with ELLE, this idea could be sold. Brendan suggested the theme entries. We traded a few grids with theme entries and realized we had to ditch FOURTH OF and live with JULY. I was green at construction and Brendan could have graduated at Brown in construction :) He took the lead in filling up the grid.

My dream came true the day Will sent the acceptance mail. After years of rejection, that YES was something I really had waited for.

The second inspiration for me, personally, is the pride I take in the Make in India campaign launched by our current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Making this special puzzle in India for the US was my way of contributing in a small way towards the Make in India campaign. Another cute play on the US-India confluence in the puzzle is that TAJ (the symbol of India) joins with JULY (the revealer answer).

For me, this crossword is special in many more ways. NYT is celebrating its 75th anniversary and I cherish the opportunity to contribute in a small way to this cultural heritage of US. I realized how deep crosswords are ingrained in American culture when I briefly contributed to the Pre Shortzian Puzzle Project. Crosswords are truly culture carriers. Studying them gives you a sneak peek into the culture and society that enjoyed those times.

I dedicate this crossword to my father who celebrates his birthday on July 3. He learned to write the English alphabet with me in my kindergarten. He is a proud father today!

BEQ: I've hung with Mangesh at ACPTs before, where we were both judges. Nice guy, and I was happy to help him make this one.

Jeff Chen notes:
JAY, YOU, ELLE, WHY are each one-fourth of JULY. Get it? (Happy 4th!) Funny how Jill and I had the same idea for last year's ... read more

JAY, YOU, ELLE, WHY are each one-fourth of JULY. Get it? (Happy 4th!)

Funny how Jill and I had the same idea for last year's 4th of Jully puzzle, but we ended up with a much different execution.

JAY GATSBY, ELLE MACPHERSON, and WHY BOTHER are all great theme selections. But with so many options starting with YOU, I was let down by YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It's a fine statement, common enough. But not YOU BET YOUR LIFE? YOU DON'T SCARE ME? YOU SAID IT NOT ME? Just personal preference, but I think there was a lot of potential left on the table.

Generally solid execution, a pair of nice extras in ON ALL FOURS and PLUM TOMATO. ARSENAL as the English football club was cool, too, especially introducing a great nickname. How awesome, to be known as "The Gunners"!

I did hitch in the upper left corner, with ELAL (esoteric), IDYL (I'm used to the IDYLL spelling), ROOS (ROO as Pooh's friend is perfectly fine though), and then the awkward VETOER. If it hadn't been for that last one, I would have shrugged off the other three. But oof, those made-up sounding -ER words are hard on the ear. Precious mid-length slot, wasted.

Overall, fun to compare and contrast this theme/grid with the one Jill and I made. Although it's the same basic idea, I think there's more than enough room for both. Hopefully, the same general concept won't show up on July 4th, 2018, though!

1
F
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0704 ( 24,710 )
Across
1. Covering for leftovers : FOIL
5. Popular sneakers : VANS
9. Pet welfare org. : ASPCA
14. Hairstyle that might have a lot of spray : UPDO
15. Its first flight went from Geneva to Tel Aviv : ELAL
16. "Calm down!" : RELAX
17. Title bootlegger in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel : JAYGATSBY
19. Fry in a small amount of fat : SAUTE
20. Sick : ILL
21. Ones jumping up Down Under, for short : ROOS
22. Appears to be : SEEMS
23. Gardening tool : HOE
24. Édouard who painted "Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe" : MANET
25. "I'm here, too" : YOUARENOTALONE
31. Printing cartridge : TONER
32. Tennis star nicknamed "The King of Clay" : NADAL
33. Russian for "peace" : MIR
34. Green-light : OKAY
35. Tough job for a dry cleaner : STAIN
36. Skirt that stops at the ankles : MAXI
37. Country singer Tillis : MEL
38. The Hindu "Ramayana" and others : EPICS
39. Stage, as a play : PUTON
40. Model with the most Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition covers (5) : ELLEMACPHERSON
43. Amusement park water ride : FLUME
44. Thumbs-down responses : NOS
45. Works hard : TOILS
46. Ore stratum : SEAM
48. Big bang letters : TNT
51. Cheese from cow's milk : GOUDA
52. "What's the use?" : WHYBOTHER
54. White-plumed marsh dweller : EGRET
55. ___ Grey tea : EARL
56. Song for a coloratura : ARIA
57. Curving billiards shot : MASSE
58. Quaker pronoun : THEE
59. What the beginnings of 17-, 25-, 40- and 52-Across are each a fourth of, phonetically : JULY
Down
1. Big name in camera film : FUJI
2. Fancy stone : OPAL
3. Pastoral verse : IDYL
4. Captain's record : LOG
5. President, at times : VETOER
6. In addition : ALSO
7. Snatches : NABS
8. Cunning : SLY
9. London football club nicknamed "The Gunners" : ARSENAL
10. Anago, at a sushi restaurant : SEAEEL
11. Common ingredient in pasta sauce : PLUMTOMATO
12. Purrers : CATS
13. Firefighter's tool : AXE
18. Very loud : AROAR
22. The Great Tempter : SATAN
23. Chopper in the Vietnam War : HUEY
24. Fashionable : MODISH
25. Backwoods sort : YOKEL
26. Crawling, say : ONALLFOURS
27. Lure : ENTICE
28. Org. that gives out Image Awards and Spingarn Medals : NAACP
29. President who launched the war on drugs : NIXON
30. Land celebrated on March 17 : ERIN
31. São ___ and Príncipe : TOME
35. Sends unwanted email : SPAMS
36. Dishevel : MUSS
38. Attempt to copy : EMULATE
39. ___ code (discount provider) : PROMO
41. Drops a few G's, say? : ELIDES
42. Allow : ENABLE
45. "Julius Caesar" costume : TOGA
46. Persian leader : SHAH
47. Jane who falls for Edward Rochester : EYRE
48. Directional word, for short : THRU
49. Justice Gorsuch : NEIL
50. Highchair surface : TRAY
51. Real beauty : GEM
52. Rainy : WET
53. ___ Mahal : TAJ

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?